On 26 January 1841 the British took possession of the island of Hong Kong. The Convention of Chuanbi was immediately repudiated by both the British and Chinese governments and their respective negotiators recalled. For the British this was Captain Charles Elliot, whose actions in China became mired in controversy for years to come, even though the ceding of Hong Kong to Britain was subsequently ratified in the treaty of Nanking.
Who was Captain Elliot, and how did he find himself at the centre of this debate? This book traces Elliot's career from his early life through his years in the Royal Navy before focusing on his role in the First Anglo-Chinese War and the founding of what became the Crown Colony of Hong Kong. Elliot has been demonised by China and for the most part poorly regarded by historians. This book shows him to have been a man ahead of his time whose views on slavery, armed conflict, the role of women and racial equality often placed him at variance with contemporary attitudes. Twenty years after the return of Hong Kong to China, his legacy is still with us.
Author(s): Jon Bursey
First Publishment Date: 07 March 2018